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EU agriculture threatened by looming CETA trade deal

The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) puts EU agriculture and the environment, as well as democratic institutions, at risk.

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Editor’s note: The following article is published verbatim from France’s Pardem (Parti de la démondialisation) and concerns the pending EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade AGreement (CETA), currently in the works between the European Union and Canada. While the article references France, the concerns it raises are also of direct relevance to Greece and to Greek farming, agriculture, and Greece’s environment.
As stated in the article which follows, it only takes one EU member-state to veto this agreement. Will Cyprus or Greece — where Monsanto’s RoundUp was just licensed by the SYRIZA-led “radical leftist” government — be the countries to stand up to this trade deal? One would think not.


French MPs and Senators will have to vote for or against the CETA (Treaty between Canada and the European Union) during the second half of 2018.
Let’s rise up so that MPs and Senators vote NO TO THE CETA – a free-trade agreement between Canada and the European Union
Only one EU Member-State is needed to vote against to make null and void this treaty which is extremely harmful to our agricultures and cattle-raising farms, for our populations health, for our jobs, for the environment in terms of greenhouse gases production, for democracy.
French agriculture endangered and increased risks for everyone’s health
The CETA is an international agreement that heavily threatens French peasants and presents very real risks for the quality of our food and our food sovereignty.
A study made by the Institut de l’Elevage (Institute for Cattle Raising) and INTERBEV (Interprofessional Union for Cattle and Meat) shows that an increase of 200,000 tons/year of zero-rated imports of Northern American beef meat to Europe would have severe consequences. Such increase would generate a 40% to 50% reduction of income for the French beef farmers, and a loss of 50,000 jobs in the related sector (30,000 farming jobs and 20,000 jobs among the downstream industry for stakeholders such as slaughterhouses, butcheries, etc). At the same time, this destruction of jobs and added value would cause a decline in pastures and grasslands benefiting field crops which would release tons of greenhouse gas. With the increase of 50,000 tons for the Canadian quota, the CETA impact only would be a little less brutal, but enough to send the beef industry into an even more serious crisis.
The CETA increases also the import quota of Canadian pork considerably, as it is now without any Customs duties. From about 6,000 tons/year (in carcass weight) charged between EUR 0.233/kg to EUR 0.434/kg, the quota would gradually reach 81,000 tons/year… with a zero-rated tariff. Like for beef meat, Canada does not use its full export quota – it exported « only 2,328 tons » of pork to the EU in 2014 – because of the European prohibition of ractopamine, a non hormonal growth additive largely used for more than 20 years in Canada. But even if that prohibition (a « non tariff » barrier) resisted the future regulation, the new quota could be enough to encourage a production of « ractopamine-free pork » for the EU market. The production cost of « ractopamine-free pork » by Canadian cattle farms is about EUR 0.35/kg inferior to the average production cost within the EU : the sole creation of a zero-rated tariff quota within the CETA would make Canadian pork competitive on the European market. Canada is the third pork exporter in the world in 2013 (behind the US and the EU) and already exports almost half of its production : it has the commercial infrastructure to conquer this new market, to the detriment of European pork farmers, in particular French pork farmers. And like for beef meat, getting that quota will set a dangerous precedent which American negotiators could use now for the TAFTA (Trans Atlantic Free Trade Agreement).
It will be much more profitable for industrials who claim they export French know-how, to establish themselves in Canada (which they manage to do nowadays but with difficulties) and to collect the milk produced by Canadian peasants, in order to feed it into the « French » production lines (yogurt, cheese, etc.)
Such strategy is not new : firms like Lactalis, Bel and Danone are already well established abroad and they produce French branded products locally. The agreement on dairy products will benefit the agri-business – all the more so as Chapter 8 that defines protection conditions for foreign investments, is particularly favorable to it – but not European and Canadian dairy farmers who are played off to the benefit of a concentration and an industrialization of production.
Detrimental consequences on employment
In general, opening borders results in increased unemployment for the workers employed in competing sectors. These workers do not manage to retrain as their skills become obsolete. Unskilled workers in rich countries, in competition with emerging countries labor force, see their employability decrease, which compels them to accept lower wages or poorer working conditions. Such opening of borders also allows the wealthiest individuals and big corporations to evade taxation thanks to fiscal optimization.
The CETA degrades climate and increases greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)
The expert committee – called for and implemented by Emmanuel Macron – has just recognized that « climate is the great absentee from the treaty ». It asserts that the CETA impact on climate will be negative as far as greenhouse gas emissions are concerned.
The CETA remains a classical free trade and investment agreement. It translates the refusal by its promoters (the European Union and Canada) to adapt it to the great global challenge of this early 21st century that is climate warming.
Neither the preamble or the CETA chapters do mention the climate emergency explicitly. Neither can be found herein goals to reduce GHG emissions, or general objectives aiming to « decarbonize » the economy. It does not mention the commitments from the EU and Canada taken during international negotiations on climate warming.
Even worse, according to the European Commission « sustainability » impact study published in June 2011, the CETA effect on greenhouse gas emissions is very real. As a matter of fact, the CETA shall result in an increase in European investments in oil extracted from oil sands (1), which emits greenhouse gas three times more than conventional oil production, as well as in big oil infrastructure projects which should allow to export that very same oil.
Despising democracy
The CETA has been provisionally applied while the citizenry or the national Parliament have not been consulted, even though the majority of French MEPs has voted against it – which constitutes a serious denial of democracy. The democratic process is also threatened by two new mechanisms set up by the CETA. On one hand, arbitration courts – which are a privatized justice questioning the States lawmaking abilities, and therefore questioning democracy (and to sentence States to pay huge indemnities to multinational firms). On the other hand, the various harmonization processes for standards, which will allow Canadian and European administrations in charge of trade, to influence health, industrial and environmental standards upstream the lawmaking process. Such tools will be available for big corporations to further their interests and influence elected officials at the local, national and European levels.
The hegemony of commercial law is therefore a front assault against the peoples’ ability to choose to live in more sovereign, more solidary, more human and fairer societies.
Notes :
(1) The petrol extracted from oil sands is one of the dirtiest in the world. The extraction process is complicated and most polluting. During such process, methane, whose greenhouse effect is at least 20 times more powerful than CO2, and sulphur dioxide, responsible for lake and forest acidification, are released into air. The outcome is that extracting one oil barrel from the Alberta oil sands, produces at least three times more greenhouse gas than a conventional oil production process.

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Archons of Greek Orthodox Church issue toothless letter about abortion law

The good news is the Archons did say some good things in reaction to the New York abortion law. But there was no consequence.

Seraphim Hanisch

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In relation to our previously published piece about Governor Andrew Cuomo signing abortion into the New York State Constitution, we noted that at the time of the article’s writing, no entities within the Orthodox Church in any jurisdiction issued any kind of statement condemning this law. Of all fourteen universally acknowledged Local Churches, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church was particularly of note, since their Archons awarded a humanitarian award known as the Athenogoras Award to extremely liberal, pro-abortion politicians, Andrew Cuomo being one of these.

Well, the Archons did issue a statement yesterday:

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Condemns New York’s New Abortion Law

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, strongly condemns the State of New York’s new Reproductive Health Act that was passed on January 22, 2019. This new law allows abortions up to the moment of birth and gives people who are not doctors the right to perform abortions.

The Order also deplores the celebratory atmosphere surrounding the new law, as One World Trade Center was lit pink to commemorate the passage of the law, as if it represented a great advance for the rights of women. The rights of no human being are ever advanced at the expense of another. The State of New York will not truly have respect for the rights of women until it once again restores legal protections for every human being, from his or her first moment of existence until natural death.

Hailed as progress, New York’s Reproductive Health Act is not actually an advance, but a regression, a return to a time of barbarism when the weak were at the mercy of the strong and had no protection from legal structures or governing authorities.

The Order implores New York’s legislators to reconsider this dangerous new law and reinstitute protections for all human life, no matter how weak and vulnerable. Only when such protections exist can any society truly prosper.

Rev. Alexander Karloutsos
Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Spiritual Advisor of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle

Is this enough?

It does not seem to be so. Governor Cuomo and his award, along with pro-abortion Roman Catholic Vice President Joe Biden, also received this award at the same time Governor Cuomo did.

What did not happen in this letter was that neither politician was named, nor were the four (out of five) Greek Orthodox politicians in the New York State Assembly that voted FOR this law.

Neither did the Archons move to rescind the Athenagoras Awards they gave to Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Biden. This move appears to be still far too politically calculated, and keeping with the tragic, curious and distressing behavior of the leadership within the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Monomachos.com is a popular blog site whose editor, George Michalopulos, is undoubtedly one of the giants among those Greek Orthodox who seriously uphold at the notion that the Church ought never compromise herself. Yet, he was very happy with the letter that is shown above because for him it represented a “180-degree turnabout” in terms of the history of the Archons’ behavior, which he noted elsewhere as smacking of “the feeling that their primary job is to raise money for Istanbul.”

He neglected to mention the lack of mention of the Awards, but perhaps understandably, his surprise at any sort of traditional statement by this group was leading to exuberance where perhaps it is not deserved.

The Greek Orthodox Church seems to have an overall alignment with very liberal figures, and it is unclear as to why. But this tendency of people that are considered good and faithful Greek Orthodox churchgoers to align with liberal politics in the United States is very different than the sharply conservative tendencies of Russian Orthodox churchgoers, or Greeks or Romanians in the US.

The other rather liberal church is the US is the Orthodox Church in America, but this group does tend to involve itself in social causes in the US – especially abortion – in a very conservative, if rather feeble, manner. They do make their presence known at the annual March for Life and this is of great value.

We wish to name all the Greek Orthodox elected New York assembly members here, with their votes regarding the state abortion measure:

Michael Gianaris             (D) (co-sponsor)   – Yes.
Andrew Gounardes         (D) (co-sponsor)   – Yes.
Nicole Malliotakis           (R)                            – No. (and she is a woman!!)
Aravella Simotas             (D)                            – Yes.
James Skoufis                  (D) (co-sponsor)   – Yes.

This measure enshrined abortion at any point in a woman’s pregnancy as a constitutional right. The law stipulates several following procedures are now “rights:”

  • The law allows non-physicians to perform abortions.
  • The law allows abortion through the third trimester.
  • and the law repeals protections for babies that survive abortions (this means that if the baby gets delivered alive, it will still be killed.)

This is a barbaric law, and a resounding victory for people aligned with some very dark ideas about life and death. It is a tragedy, and while the Archons’ letter condemning it is at least a token statement, it really wants a full-throated response from the Christian world.

In fact, even Muslims and religious Jewish people ought to be outraged as well. All the Abrahamic religions understand that only God is the author of life. In this viewpoint, people do not themselves create life. We only cooperate with God to bring it into existence, by his blessing.

But we can cause death, and this power is influenced by forces that are not interested in God, traditional values, family, children or anything of the sort.

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Greek MPs pass Prespes deal with 153 votes in 300-seat House

Opinion polls indicate that most Greeks oppose the settlement, a fact which may not bode well for Tsipras in an election year.

The Duran

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Via Ekathimerini


Greece’s parliament on Friday ratified a landmark accord that changes the name of neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), ending a decades-old dispute and opening the way for the ex-Yugoslav republic to join the European Union and NATO.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who hammered out the deal with his FYROM counterpart last year, secured the parliamentary majority needed to get the accord approved with support from independent and opposition lawmakers.

“Today we are writing a new page for the Balkans. The hatred of nationalism and conflict is giving way to friendship, peace, and cooperation,” Tsipras wrote on his social media account.

FYROM has already ratified the deal, brokered last year, and its prime minister promptly sent a tweet hailing the Greek parliament’s vote.

The settlement seeks to end a 28-year old row between Athens and Skopje over the use of the term “Macedonia” by renaming the tiny Balkan state “Republic of North Macedonia” to differentiate it from Greece’s northern province of Macedonia.

Greece’s European Union allies welcomed the ratification.

“They had imagination, they took the risk, they were ready to sacrifice their own interests for the greater good,” European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted. “Mission impossible accomplished.”

Opinion polls indicate that most Greeks oppose the settlement, a fact which may not bode well for Tsipras in an election year. A general election is due by October, and his party is trailing the opposition New Democracy by up to 12 points.

The debate in the Greek parliament was heated, with voting almost interrupted on Friday when an MP for the right-wing Golden Dawn Party, asked to cast his vote, responded: “No to treason!”

Several MPs in favour of of the accord reported attempts to intimidate them.

Many Greeks fear the agreement could lead to territorial claims against Greece and say it constitutes an appropriation of their country’s ancient cultural heritage. Macedonia was the birthplace of Alexander the Great.

Protests against the deal have at times turned violent this week, and on Thursday evening police fired teargas to disperse crowds outside parliament. Smaller groups of people braved heavy rain on Friday to demonstrate outside the parliament.

New Democracy slammed the agreement.

“This deal should never have been signed or brought to parliament for ratification,” party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis told parliament. “It is a national defeat … a national blunder that is an affont to the truth and history of our country.”

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